Anorak News | Madeleine McCann: Correcting A Correction

Madeleine McCann: Correcting A Correction

by | 30th, September 2009

express-apologyMADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann, Kate McCann and Gerry McCanna few words on apologies:

A WORD on newspaper apologies in the University of Virginia’s Cavalier Daily – oh, the irony – featuring Our Maddie as the ultimate newspaper apology.

Christopher Hitchens has said that the purpose of putting corrections in a newspaper is not really to correct what the paper got wrong. It’s to point out that everything else in the paper was right.

Tim Thornton goes on to talk of corrections and clarifications. And then introduces Craig Silverman, who writes the excellent book Regret the Error.

Dave Berry got Silverman’s correction of the year award for this gem:

In yesterday’s column about badminton, I misspelled the name of Guatemalan player Kevin Cordon. I apologize. In my defense, I want to note that in the same column I correctly spelled Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarak, Poompat Sapkulchananart and Porntip Buranapraseatsuk. So by the time I got to Kevin Cordon, my fingers were exhausted.

Silverman was much less amused by this front page correction in a United Kingdom newspaper:

The Daily Express has taken the unprecedented step of making a front-page apology to Kate and Gerry McCann.

We did so because we accept that a number of articles in the newspaper have suggested that the couple caused the death of their missing daughter Madeleine and then covered it up.

We acknowledge that there is no evidence whatsoever to support this theory and that Kate and Gerry are completely innocent of any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.

We trust that the suspicion that has clouded their lives for many months will soon be lifted.

As an expression of its regret, the Daily Express has now paid a very substantial sum into the Madeleine Fund and we promise to do all in our power to help efforts to find her.

Kate and Gerry, we are truly sorry to have added to your distress.

We assure you that we hope Madeleine will one day be found alive and well and will be restored to her loving family.

Anorak broke that story.

The apology was not only an error being corrected – that was a reaction in line with a court ruling in which the Express and its sister papers the Daily Star, Star on Sunday and Sunday Expressdonated” (their word) £550,000 to the Madeleine Fund for libelling the missing child’s parents.

Thornton concludes:

When we were children, we may have believed that grown ups were omniscient and infallible. Now that we’re grown ups, we know that’s not true. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that a newspaper’s staff is neither omniscient nor infallible. As readers, when we see an error, we should point it out, so it can be corrected. That’s fair. And fairness is more than grown-ups can reasonably expect from most things in life.

Fairness in the British press? Anyone else laughing?

Posted: 30th, September 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann Comments (4) | TrackBack | Permalink